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Alesis ADAT XT
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Looped Recording 51 Rehearsal 51 Tape Length 52 Footswitch Controls 53 Footswitch Controlled Punching Footswitch Controlled Autolocating Using the XT Remote 54
5: MULTIPLE ADAT-XT OPERATION 55
Overview 55 Synchronizing Machines 56 Master/Slave Interaction 56 Achieving Lock 57 Independent Slave Mode 57 Formatting Multiple Tapes 57 Master Format Enabled, Complete Format Master Format Enabled, Format Extend 57 Master Format Disabled 58 Master Format Disabled, Format Extend Bouncing Tracks Between XTs 59 Reassigning Channels to Different Tracks Making Digital Backups 60 Recording Digital Audio from Other Sources Digital Clock Considerations 61 Tape Offset 62 Combining XTs and ADATs 63 XT Transport Speed 63 Sample rate vs. Pitch Control 63 Input Monitoring 63 Phase Inversion 64 Connections 65
6: APPLICATIONS 67
Overview 67 Combined Multitrack/Mastering Deck 67 Computer Control 69 MIDI Systems: Virtual Tracking 69 MIDI Machine Control: Virtual Remote Control69 Libraries and Archives 70 Modular Recording 70 Using Track Copy as a Digital Router 71 Calculating Tape Offset Using the Locates 71
A PPENDIX A: DIGITAL RECORDING CONCEPTS
Analog Recording Basics Digital Recording Basics Why S-VHS? 73
A PPENDIX B: TROUBLESHOOTING
Trouble-Shooting Index 75 Re-initializing 75 Checking Software Version 76 Error Rate Display 76 About Error Rate Readings 76 ADAT Head Life 76 ADAT Head Maintenance 77 Tape Maintenance: Safe Tape 78
Maintenance/Service 79 Cleaning 79 Maintenance 79 Obtaining Repair Service
APPENDIX C: ERROR CODES
Steps To Take Before Calling For Help 83
A PPENDIX D: SPECIFICATIONS 84 GLOSSARY 86 INDEX 91
Setting Up: Chapter 1
UNPACKING AND INSPECTION
Your XT was packed carefully at the factory. The shipping carton was designed to protect the unit during shipping. Please retain this container in the highly unlikely event that you need to return the XT for servicing. The shipping carton should contain the following items: ADAT-XT with the same serial number as shown on shipping carton Power Cable Optical Cable XT remote control unit This instruction manual Blank S-VHS ST-120 cassette Alesis warranty card
It is important to register your purchase; if you have not already filled out your warranty card and mailed it back to Alesis, please take the time to do so now.
AC POWER H OOKUP
With the XT off, plug the female end of the power cord into the XTs [POWER INPUT] socket and the male (plug) end into a source of AC power. Its good practice to not turn on the XT until all other cables are hooked up. The XT works with any AC voltage from 90 to 250 volts, 50 to 60 Hz. This eliminates the need for transformers or voltage switches. Your XT was supplied with the correct power cord for your country or local area, however only the following alternative power cords are approved for use with ADAT: For 90-120 VAC 50/60 Hz operation in the US, Canada and/or Japan, use Alesis UL/CSA power cord #7-41-0001. For 240 VAC 50 Hz operation in England, use Alesis Power cord #7-41-0004. For 220 VAC 50 Hz operation in Europe and Scandinavia, use Alesis EU power cord #7-41-0002. For 240 VAC 50 Hz operation in Australia, use Alesis AS power cord #7-41-0003.
By pressing the [REHEARSE] button (the REHEARSE icon will light in the display), you can run through the Auto-Record process without actually recording anything. However, the input monitors on the tracks that enabled for recording will switch from tape to input when the punch-in occurs, and back to tape when the punch-out occurs (this requires that the Auto Input function be turned on, see page 39). The [RECORD] LED will continue flashing throughout the punch in and out. This way you can try out your punch locations first without recording over anything. In other words, you can measure twice (or more), and cut only once!
The Pitch function controls the speed of the tape, and thus the pitch of the audio recorded on tape. The XTs Pitch control has a range of -300 to +100 cents when using a sample rate of 48kHz, and a range of -200 to +200 cents when using 44.1kHz. Use the PITCH [s] and [t] buttons to control the amount of pitch change. When either button is pressed once, the PITCH icon lights in the display, and the TIME counter immediately displays the current amount of Pitch change. The Pitch amount is displayed both as a percentage (%) and as cents.
00. 00 00. 00
(Percentage) / (Cents)
To set the Pitch amount:
Press and hold either PITCH [s] or [t].
After holding for more than two seconds, the Pitch amount will start either increasing or decreasing, depending on which button was pressed.
The XT allows you to delay the playback of any track in relation to the other tracks (and the TIME counter) by a maximum of 170 milliseconds. This can be very useful when some tracks are slightly off, or when you need to move a particular instrument to get it in the pocket, or when you just want to create an interesting effect (like copying a track and delaying the copy). To delay a track:
Press [EDIT VALUE].
The EDIT icon will light in the display.
Press [TRACK DELAY]. The TRACK DELAY icon will light, just below the EDIT icon.
Choose a track to edit by pressing one of the RECORD ENABLE buttons .
A number will appear to the left of the EDIT icon representing the track you are editing.
Use the [s] and [t] buttons to adjust the delay amount in.1 ms increments. Hold the [EDIT VALUE] button and enter a specific delay value using the
[LOCATE 0] thought [LOCATE 9] buttons. The TIME counter will display the selected tracks delay amount. mS Simultaneously, the peak meter for the selected track will rise to indicate the amount of track delay you have selected.
1 70. 0
Repeat steps 3 and 4 for any other tracks you wish to delay.
D Press [EDIT VALUE] to exit Edit mode.
The EDIT icon will turn off.
Press [TRACK DELAY] to enable the Track Delay feature.
Locate the [SYNC IN] and [SYNC OUT] connectors.
Connect one end of a male-to-male, 9 pin connector cable to the masters [SYNC OUT] jack.
Connect the other end of the cable to the first slaves [SYNC IN] jack. For additional slaves, connect one end of a male-to-male, 9 pin D connector
cable to the first slaves [SYNC OUT] jack, and the other end to the second slaves [SYNC IN] jack. Its [SYNC OUT] jack then connects to the third slaves [SYNC IN] jack, and so on. The following illustration depicts two XTs synchronized together.
DIGITAL AUDIO IN/OUT
The Digital input and output carries all eight tracks on a single fiber optical cable. This allows you to bounce audio between multiple machines within the digital domain. This also lets you route digital audio between multiple XTs and ADATs, and to ADAT Compatible products such as the QuadraVerb 2. Since the fiber optic connector carries the digital information for all 8 tracks, it is also useful for backing up all tracks in one pass (see Chapter 6 for more on digital audio). Digital bussing requires a fiber optical cable (included) for each XT in the system (or any other ADAT compatible product). This connection can be made while power is on or off, and the machines do not need to be turned on in any particular order. Note: To bounce tracks within a single XT, it is not necessary to connect the optical network. To connect the digital optical network:
Locate the [DIGITAL IN] and [DIGITAL OUT] connectors.
Remove the connectors plugs (if present) and store for later use.
Connect one end of the fiber optic cable into the [DIGITAL OUT] jack of the first machine in the system. Remove the clear, plastic tube covering each end of the cable (if present). The cable is non-polarized, so either end can be inserted into the optical output. machine in the system.
Connect the other end of the fiber optic cable to the [DIGITAL IN] of the second For each additional machine, connect one end of an additional fiber optic cable to
the second machines [DIGITAL OUT] jack, and the other end to the third machines [DIGITAL IN] jack. Its [DIGITAL OUT] jack then connects to the fourth machines [DIGITAL IN] jack, and so on.
Finally, connect one end of a fiber optic cable to the last machines [DIGITAL
OUT] jack, and the other end to the first machines [DIGITAL IN] jack. This last step creates a loop, and thus makes the digital bus accessible to all machines that are connected to it.
When connecting more than two machines, always connect the optical cables in the same order as the sync cables (1 to 2, 2 to 3, etc.), so that the digital routing will work correctly.
The XT provides two footswitch connectors using 1/4" mono (T/S) jacks. One, labeled [LOCATE/PLAY/LRC REMOTE], allows locate and play commands; the other, labeled [PUNCH IN/OUT], is for punch in/out control.
RECORD/P UNCH IN OR O UT
Use the [RECORD] button to enter or exit record mode, and to format a tape. There are two methods of entering record mode. You can first enable the tracks you wish to record on and then engage recording using the [PLAY] and [RECORD] buttons. Or you can engage record mode and then use the RECORD ENABLE buttons to place tracks in or out of record. If no tracks are enabled for recording and record mode is engaged, the [RECORD] LED will flash to indicate that pressing any RECORD ENABLE button will immediately initiate recording on that track. To start recording: Hold [PLAY] and press [RECORD] to cause any record-enabled track to enter record mode. This is recommended for punching on the fly. Hold [RECORD] and press [PLAY] to cause any record-enabled track to enter record mode. This is recommended for initiating recording when the tape is stopped, or for punching on the fly.
To punch out and stop the transport, simply press [STOP]. There are three ways to exit record mode (punch out) yet have the transport continue to play; use whichever method is most natural to you. Press [PLAY]. Hold [RECORD] , and then press [PLAY]. Use the RECORD ENABLE buttons   to take tracks out of record.
The [STOP] button performs three functions. Stop the transport. Push [STOP] to stop any function involving tape motion. A lit [STOP] LED indicates that the tape is not moving and is threaded. A flashing [STOP] LED indicates that the tape is not moving and is unthreaded. Thread/Unthread the tape. While the [STOP] LED is lit, press [STOP] to unthread the tape ([STOP] LED flashes). While the [STOP] LED is flashing, press
[STOP] to thread the tape ([STOP] LED is lit). Entering play or record more will also thread the tape, if it was previously unthreaded. Punch out. When recording, pressing [STOP] will exit record mode and stop the transport.
SAMPLE R ATE (C LOCK )
The XT records digital audio in a similar manner as a DAT recorder or digital sampler. You may select between two sample rates when using the XTs internal clock: 48 kHz and 44.1 kHz. Select the sample rate to match the balance of the recording system you are connected to. The currently selected sample rate is indicated by the CLOCK group of icons in the display. When the INT and 44.1K icons are lit, the XT is set to an internal 44.1 kHz clock. When the INT and 48K icons are lit, the internal 48 kHz clock setting is in use. The default setting is internal 48 kHz (INT 48K).
Changing the clock from 48kHz to 44.1 kHz, or vice-versa, will change the reference point upon which the Pitch controls are based. This will also cause the TIME counter to change; the Locate Points (see pages 48 & 49) will be referenced to different time positions (when viewed), although they still correspond to the same physical tape positions as before.
To select the sample rate:
Press the [CLOCK SELECT] button.
Each time the [CLOCK SELECT] button is pressed, the right side of the display will cycle through the following settings: INT 48K , INT 44.1K, DIG 48K, and DIG 44.1K.
If the [LOCATE 0] button is pressed, the transport will immediately begin locating to the 0:00:00.00 time location of the tape. If the TIME counter is in ABS mode when [LOCATE 0] is pressed, the absolute 0:00:00.00 position is located. If the TIME counter is in Relative mode when [LOCATE 0] is pressed, then the relative 0:00:00.00 position is located. [LOCATE 0] is different from the other [LOCATE] buttons in this respect: it may wind the tape to different locations, depending whether the TIME counter is in ABS or REL mode. All the other locate points represent the same actual (physical) position on tape, regardless of whether the display is in ABS or REL mode. The [LOCATE 0] button is also used to set the relative zero time. When this button is pressed while holding [SET LOCATE], the relative tape counter is reset to zero (0:00:00.00). Once this occurs, you have changed the Relative Time zero point, and the display will automatically change to Relative Time mode (REL icon lit).
SETTING LOCATE POINTS
There are two ways of storing Locate Point memories: manually or on the fly. To store a Locate Point memory on the fly:
Press [PLAY] to engage playback.
Alternatively, the transport may be engaged in either Rewind, Review, Fast Forward, Cue, Record or Stop mode (i.e. the transport does not have to be in Play mode to store Locate Points in the following manner; it is simply the most practical way to do it).
Press and/or hold the [SET LOCATE] button. The LOCATE icon will light and a dash () will begin flashing to its right.
Immediately press one of the [LOCATE 0] [LOCATE 9] buttons.
The current tape location will be stored into the Locate Point memory you selected. If [LOCATE] button is not pressed within 2 seconds after releasing [SET LOCATE] , the flashing dash will disappear and none of the Locate Point memories will be changed.
To store multiple Locate Points, you may continue holding the [SET LOCATE]
button and press any of the [LOCATE] buttons when the desired tape positions are reached. To edit a Locate Point memory:
Press [EDIT VALUE] to enter Edit mode.
Press one of the [LOCATE 0] [LOCATE 9] buttons to select a Locate Point address. The LOCATE icon will light, the selected Locate Points number (0-9) will appear next to it, and the address of the selected Locate Point will be displayed in the TIME counter.
Use [s] and [t] buttons to fine tune the Locate Points address. Alternatively, you may select a specific digit by holding [EDIT VALUE] and using
While still holding [EDIT VALUE], press any of the [LOCATE 0] [LOCATE 9]
buttons to replace the selected digit with. The next digit to the right is automatically selected, so you may continue entering digits.
To properly extend the format, the master and slaves should be playing in sync before punching into format record.
MASTER F ORMAT DISABLED
If the masters FORMAT icon is off and initiates a RECORD command anywhere in the tape and the slaves FORMAT icon is off: If the slave tape is unformatted, the slave plays, but the TIME counter reads noFO (no format) while flashing the FORMAT icon. If the slave tape is formatted, the slave autolocates to the same time as the master and plays or records in sync,
To properly punch in, the master and slave should be in sync before punching. Otherwise, the master will punch in immediately, but the slaves wont punch in until sync is achieved.
MASTER F ORMAT DISABLED , FORMAT EXTEND
If the master initiates recording from the audio portion of the tape and the slaves FORMAT icon is on: If the slave tape is unformatted, the slave plays, but the TIME counter reads noFO (no format) while flashing the FORMAT icon. If the slaves tape is formatted, the slave autolocates to the same time as the master and then format extension begins.
If the master initiates recording from the start of the tape and the slaves FORMAT icon is on, start-to-finish formatting begins regardless of whether the slave tape is formatted or not.
RECORDING D IGITAL AUDIO
BOUNCING T RACKS BETWEEN ADATS
Tracks can be bounced between machines in a multiple ADAT system by using the digital bus. The digital bus is connected in much the same way as the sync cables, and should be done in the same order. Refer to the section entitled Digital In/Out on page 27 in chapter 3 for more information on connecting the digital bus. It is also possible to bounce tracks within a single XT without the need for connecting the digital bus. See page 38 in chapter 4 for more information. If the [DIGITAL INPUT] button is pressed, the XT will record from the [DIGITAL IN] connector, and the analog inputs will be ignored (both balanced and unbalanced). Alesis proprietary multi-channel digital bus carries the 8 tracks of a source XT or ADAT. These 8 channels are routed in a one-to-one relationship to the 8 tracks of the target XT which can record the digital audio. Note that to create an exact (sample-accurate) digital copy from a master to a slave, both master and slave machines must have their [DIGITAL INPUT] buttons enabled. This is necessary so that the master knows you are making a digital copy and will offset its digital output so that it matches that of the slave machine.
MIDI S YSTEMS: VIRTUAL T RACKING
Lately, many sequencing software manufacturers have been integrating digital audio hard disk recording and playback into their sequencers. However, the XT can offer much of the same flexibility without the added expense of a new program (or upgrade) or the hardware that accompanies a hard disk recording system. This requires a timecode interface, such as Steinbergs ACI or JLCoopers DataSync 2, which will convert the XTs timecode (which is recorded when a tape is formatted) into MIDI Timecode (MTC) which a sequencer can synchronize to. Connect the [SYNC OUT] from the XT (or from the last slave in a multiple ADAT system) to the [SYNC IN] of the timecode interface you are using. Connect the timecode interfaces [MIDI OUT] to the [MIDI IN] of you sequencer. Set your sequencer to synchronize to the MTC being received from the timecode interface. As you control the XTs tape motion with the transport controls, the sequencer will automatically follow along, letting you mix digital recordings with virtual MIDI tracks on a MIDI sequencer.
MIDI MACHINE CONTROL : VIRTUAL REMOTE CONTROL
Many of the computer-based sequencing software programs today have implemented MIDI Machine Control (MMC) into their sequencers. MMC is a specification implemented by the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) and the Japan MIDI Standards Committee (JMSC) which details a set of messages that provide a universal way of having sequencers and tape machines speak to one another (not to mention tape machines talking to each other). These messages include: basic transport functions (like Play, Stop and Record), Locate functions (go to a specific tape location), Track functions (record-enable, input monitor, track delay), and many other types of messages. However, not all sequencers send out all these messages; some even send only basic transport commands. The total amount of control you have over your XT depends entirely on how much of the MMC specification has been implemented in the software you use. First, make sure your sequencer is receiving MTC from the XT (see previous section). In addition, connect the [MIDI OUT] from your computers MIDI interface to the [MIDI IN] of the timecode interface; then connect the [SYNC OUT] of the timecode interface to the [SYNC IN] of the XT (of the master in a multiple ADAT system). Refer to the manuals for the timecode interface and your computer-based sequencer for instructions on how to set them up for MMC applications.
On the XT, press and hold [TRACK COPY].
Press RECORD ENABLE  to select track #1 as the source track.
Release the [TRACK COPY] button. Press RECORD ENABLE  to record enable track #8 on the XT. Press [DIGITAL IN] on the ADAT and press RECORD ENABLE  to record
enable track #8 (16) on the ADAT.
Press [PLAY] on the XT.
D Press [PLAY] and [RECORD] on the slave ADAT.
CALCULATING TAPE OFFSET USING THE LOCATES
The Alesis BRC provides a way of setting tape offsets using any of the 20 Locate memories in a song. This means you can set a Locate at one point, another Locate at another position, then have one of the slave ADATs offset by the amount of time between those two Locate positions. The XT allows you to set a Tape Offset by entering a time reference. For example, if you were to set a Tape Offset of 5 minutes (0:05:00.00) and the rest of the ADATs were at 0:03:23.15, the XT would be at 0:08:23.15. But lets say you dont know the time difference (i.e. the offset amount) between two sections of music. For example, lets say you wanted to bounce the vocals from the chorus 1 section of a song on an XT to a slave ADAT, then bounce them back to the XT while it was offset to the second chorus. To do this, the XT needs the exact offset time between these two positions in the song. So how many minutes, seconds and hundredths-of-a-second away is chorus 2 from chorus 1? Heres a way to find out by using the Locate Points.
Play the tape(s) back from just before chorus #1.
Press and hold [SET LOCATE].
When you get to the downbeat of chorus #1, press [LOCATE 0].
This sets the TIME counter to 0:00:00.00 , and automatically selects Relative Time mode (the REL icon will light to the left of the TIME counter).
While still holding [SET LOCATE], press [LOCATE 5] when you get to the
downbeat of chorus #2.
ADAT XT Reference Manual 71
Press [EDIT VALUE], then press [LOCATE 5]. Edit Mode will now be selected. The TIME counter will display a time for Locate 5 (like 0:00:47.30). Write this number down or memorize it. displayed for Locate 5 (0:00:47.30). To do this, press and hold the [EDIT VALUE] button and press [LOCATE 4], [LOCATE 7] , [LOCATE 3] then [LOCATE 0]; then release [EDIT VALUE].
Press [ANALOG INPUT]. Set the sample rate/clock source on the master XT.
Error Message in display
Set Locate Point 3 past Locate Point 2. Set Locate Point 4 past Locate Point 1. Check sync cables. Power down the Master only, then restart. Edit mode is turned on. Press [EDIT VALUE] to turn Edit mode off. One or more errors have Clean the tape heads. been detected/corrected Make a backup copy of your tape. Tape was formatted at If desired, press [CLOCK different sample rate than SELECT] to use original currently selected. sample rate. Several possible See Appendix C: Error Codes
If your unit behaves erratically or freezes, the first step is to power down the unit. and power it back up again. If this steps do not solve the problem, you must re initialize the software. To re-initialize the XT, hold down both [RECORD] and [PLAY] while turning on the [POWER] switch. This will reset all parameters to their default settings
CHECKING SOFTWARE VERSION
The current software version may be determined by holding [SET LOCATE] and pressing [FAST FWD]. The XT will momentarily indicate the current operating software version installed in the TIME counter.
ERROR R ATE D ISPLAY
The TIME counter has a secondary mode which, when selected, will display only the minutes and seconds of the tape position, and the error rate while the transport is engaged in play or record. This error rate is viewed as a count of the number of sync block errors per 14 drum revolutions (every 280ms). Since there are 30 sync blocks per sector, 8 sectors per track, and two tracks per revolution, the maximum number is 6720. If this display mode is selected during any other mode than play or record, the number will always read 0000. To view the error rate display: 1 Hold [SET LOCATE] and press RECORD ENABLE . The TIME counter will briefly read:
d1 SP E rr d1 SP r E9
When PLAY or RECORD are engaged, the TIME counter will change to show minutes and seconds on the left, and a 4-digit error rate counter on the rate.
The heads of each ADAT are pre-aligned at Alesis. No user adjustment is necessary. Over the course of time, depending on the quality of the tapes used and the environmental conditions where the ADAT and its tapes are stored, head cleaning may become necessary. Unlike analog or even video tape recorders, the actual sound quality of an ADAT recording will not be affected until there is quite a bit of dirt on the drum and heads. When the Interpolation Indicator (the sunburst at the end of the location display) starts appearing frequently, even on brand new tapes, we recommend that you bring your ADAT to an authorized Alesis Service Center for cleaning. If the indicator is not appearing and the unit is performing normally, there is no reason to clean the heads. Periodic or preventative maintenance should not be over done to prevent premature wear on the headstack. If head cleaning is necessary and you are unable to bring your ADAT to a service center, you may try using a DRY VHS head cleaning cassette. We recommend 3M VHSHC Black Watch Head Cleaner Video Cassette or 3M ASD HC Digital Audio Head Cleaning Cassette. Do NOT use any other type of head cleaning cassette. They are abrasive and will damage or wear out your heads. Do NOT use head cleaning cassettes that require any kind of liquid. Do not use the Black Watch cassette any more often than necessary. Overcleaning the heads wears them down, reducing their life span. Do NOT attempt to clean the heads yourself unless you are a skilled technician experienced in the maintenance of video cassette recorders. Information for such technicians is available from Alesis Product Support. ADAT head cleaning requires different materials and procedures from analog head cleaning, similar to VCR maintenance. Cleaning the heads with a cotton swab, or rubbing in the wrong direction, will destroy them. Opening the case of your ADAT will void the warranty.
Maintenance of the ADAT should be based on the Interpolation Indicator (or Error Count Display, see p. 74) or if the unit begins to behave erratically. To determine if these symptoms are caused by dirty heads, (not a defective or worn tape), keep a benchmark tape from the first weeks of operation set aside in a safe place (see page 40). If the Interpolation Indicator lights frequently when playing back this tape, it is likely that head cleaning is needed, particularly if several hundred drum-on hours have elapsed since the last cleaning (see page 74). Call Alesis Product Support for more information about head cleaning and authorized Alesis Service Centers.
Automatic Brake Calibration Procedure
If the "CAL brAc" error message appears, the internal braking system of the XT may need to be adjusted. The intelligent transport software is capable of calibrating the XT's brakes automatically in a self-test procedure. This procedure may be performed as a regular maintenance procedure every 250 hours of head drum operation (to see the hours on your unit, hold SET LOCATE and press FAST FORWARD). 1. Obtain a standard ST-126 length tape (preferably an Ampex 489 such as that was shipped with your unit) that has already been completely formatted from beginning to end. Use a non-essential tape (i.e., don't insert your only copy of a master tape). Do not use other lengths of tape such as ST-180 or ST-60.
2. 3. 4.
Turn off the POWER switch. Hold REWIND and FAST FORWARD while turning the power back on again. The display will read "CALIbrAt". Insert the tape into the transport. At this time the unit will adjust the brake tension automatically. The transport will shuttle back and forth for about 5 minutes. During the operation, the tape will half-eject twice. This is normal. The display should briefly read "PaSS" before ejecting the tape fully and returning to the "ADAT-XT" start-up screen. The brakes have now been recalibrated.
If the "CAL brAc" message appears again shortly after a brake calibration has been performed, there may be something wrong with the tape being used. Check operation with another tape. If the message persists, the unit must be professionally serviced. Note: If these errors occur only with a certain tape, or display once in a while, its probably not cause for concern. Errors 1 through 3 and 9 can indicate conditions that may damage a tape; the other errors wont damage the tape or the machine. Backup the data from that tape to another machine, if possible, and continue working from the backup copy.
STEPS T O TAKE BEFORE C ALLING FOR HELP
If an error message is displayed or if an ADAT starts behaving strangely, then please follow the suggested steps below: Stop the tape playing (or recording). Does the error go away? Rewind the tape a minute or two. Press [PLAY]. Does the error recur? Eject the tape. Place it back in the XT and press [PLAY]. Does the error recur? Turn down the volume of any mixer or amplifier you have connected to the outputs of the XT. Turn the power of the XT off, wait a minute and then re-power the XT. Repeat steps 1 to 3. Does the error come back? If it does, then try a different tape. Repeat steps 1 to 3. Does the problem recur? Try the tape in a different XT or ADAT. (If you are using a single ADAT system, see if you can visit your dealer.) It does not make sense to send your XT in for service when there may be only a problem with, for example, some tapes that you are using. If the same problems occur in another XT or ADAT, then either the tape is faulty or it was formatted on an out of alignment XT or ADAT. At this point, you should call Alesis Product Support. If the problem does not occur, and the tape works fine, then we need to look at your XT. You need to call Alesis Product Support.
Whatever happens, the answers to all these questions are useful information for our Product Support representatives. The more we know, the faster we can discover the cause of your problems. You will help us isolate whether the problem lies in the XT, the tape or somewhere else.
Recording Format: Tape Format: ADAT Rotary head digital recording S-VHS cartridge ADAT XT Reference Manual 83
Heads: Approximate Recording Times: ST-60: ST-120/SE-180: ST-160/SE-240: ST-180/SE-260: Fast Wind Rate:
4 (2 Read, 2 Write); Read before Write 22 minutes 40 minutes 54 minutes 62 minutes 40 x play speed (Threaded)
Number of Audio Channels: Audio Conversion: Record (A/D): Playback (D/A): Sample Rate: Vari Speed Range: Frequency Response: Dynamic Range: Distortion: Channel Crosstalk: Wow and Flutter: Reference Level: Eight 18 bit linear audio, 128 times oversampling, single converter per chan. 20 bit linear, 8 times oversampling, single converter per chan. 44.1 /48kHz, Selectable +100/-300 cents (48kHz), 200 cents (44.1kHz) 20Hz 20 kHz, 0.5dB 92 dB, A weighted.009% THD Better than -90 dB @ 1kHz Unmeasurable -15dB
Connectors: Balanced: Unbalanced: Input Impedance: Balanced: Unbalanced: Output Impedance: Balanced: Unbalanced: Nominal Input levels: Balanced: Unbalanced: Maximum Input levels: Balanced: Unbalanced: One ELCO connector (in/out) Sixteen RCA jacks (8 input, 8 output) 10kW 10kW 150W into 600W Nominal 150W into 10k W Nominal +4 dBu (1.23V) -10 dBV (3.17V) +19 dBu (6.90V) +5 dBV (1.78V)
D/A or Digital-to-Analog Converter
The device that converts digital signals back into an analog format so that they can be heard.
Fiber Optical Connector
A device that transmits signals through light instead of conventional wire. Advantages include higher speed and the ability to carry multiple chanels of information over a single, thin cable.
A video signal distributed to any device that requires a reference to maintain proper sync relationship with other devices. The signal comes in several forms: Blackburst results in a black video screen when fed to a video monitor; Color bars are the standard reference for adjusting video equipment. Color bars can be seen on many stations just before they come on the air.
An input is a path through which audio passes from one electronic device into another. types of inputs vary in connector type, level, use (sends, monitor, mix), and electrical characteristics (impedance, balanced or unbalanced). They can be analog or digital.
J K L M
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI). A protocol whereby various MIDIcompatible products can communicate various musical and non-musical messages (such as notes, controls, etc.).
MIDI Machine Control (MMC). A subset of MIDI messages which correspond to tape machines transport controls and other functions.
Used as a verb, to mute a channel means to turn off the audio for that channel. Used as a noun, mutes are the buttons which turn off a particular channel. Mutes are usually non-destructive, though not always. Mutes are often automated as part of mixer automation systems.
A path through which audio passes from one device to another. Types of outputs vary in connector type, level, use (sends, monitor, mix), and electrical characteristics (impedance, balanced or unbalanced). They can be analog or digital.
The process of taking more samples than is required in order to more accurately reconstruct a digitized signal back into analog audio.
Begins after the film or video location shoot and is the process of combining, editing and processing audio elements into a final product to be married with the picture.
The process of entering and/or exiting the record function while the tape is playing. This allows recording over specific pieces of tape, such as recording over a section with bad notes, as opposed to recording over the entire length of the track.
Formatting a tape erases audio on all eight tracks. Be sure to check that the tape is either blank or contains unwanted material before formatting. We recommend that you format your tapes completely from beginning to end.
W ORD LENGTH (16/20 BIT ) SELECTION
Before formatting, select the word length you will be using (either 16bit or 20-bit) by pressing the FORMAT button until the length you want is shown in the display. 20-bit offers the greatest audio quality; 16-bit should be used if the master tape must be played in an older, Type-Ionly ADAT or ADAT-XT. (You can always make a 16-bit copy of a 20bit master if needed for this purpose.)
SAMPLE RATE SELECTION
Before formatting, select the sample rate you will be using (either 48 kHz or 44.1 kHz). This is done by pressing the [CLOCK SELECT] button. Each time [CLOCK SELECT] is pressed, the XT20 will cycle between INT 48K, INT 44.1K and DIG (the section on the right side of the display labeled CLOCK will indicate the currently selected sample rate). Note: For more information about the DIG option (Digital Audio Clock), see page 59.
To Format a new tape: Insert a fresh, blank tape. The XT20 will acknowledge that this is an unformatted tape; the F O R M A T icon will flash in the display while the counter display reads noFO. Press the [FORMAT] button. The display will briefly read 20 bit or 16 bit The word [FORMAT] in the display will stop flashing and remain lit. The [RECORD] LEDs for tracks 1 through 8 will now be flashing. x Hold [RECORD], and then press [PLAY]. If the tape was not completely rewound, the XT20 will automatically rewind it to the beginning. The XT20 then performs a complete format by recording 15 seconds of leader (the LED display will read LEAd), followed by two minutes of data (the display will read dAtA), then timecode starting at 0:00:00.00 and continuing to the end of the tape.
RECORDING W HILE FORMATTING
You can record onto tape while formatting. Simply press any of the RECORD ENABLE buttons  for any track(s) you wish to record on before pressing the [FORMAT] button. Prepare your source material to start playback at 0:00:00.00 on the XT20 or later (do not begin recording before 0:00:00.00). See the next section for more information on setting levels and recording.
M AKING A RECORDING
Recording on the XT20 is very similar to most multitrack tape machines. The process involves formatting a tape (see previous tutorial), putting one or more tracks into record-ready, adjusting record levels on your mixer, setting the input monitor mode, locating to the start tape address and engaging record. In this tutorial, we will be recording from the analog audio inputs at the start of the audio portion of the tape (0:00:00.00).
Youll find the RECORD ENABLE buttons () for all eight tracks on the left side of the front panel, beneath the display. A track is considered safe when its [REC] LED is off, in record-ready when its [REC] LED is flashing, and in record when its [REC] LED is lit solid. To record-enable a track: Choose a track to record on, and press the tracks associated RECORD ENABLE button . The selected tracks [REC] LED will flash to indicate it is in record-ready. Send an audio signal to the track(s) you have placed into record-ready. Adjust the levels on your mixer so that the average level is at -15 dB on the peak meters of the XT20 and the loudest section never goes beyond 0 dB. Digital audio recording is different from analog recording, and therefore requires a different method when setting levels. For more information, see Setting Levels on page 48. x To take a track out of record-ready (safe), press its associated RECORD ENABLE button again. The selected tracks [REC] LED will turn off to indicate it is safe.
Up to 10 tape positions can be stored for easy recall. These are called Locate Points, and can be stored either on the fly while the transport is engaged, or when the transport is stopped. Once a Locate Point is stored, its corresponding tape position can be edited. For more info about locating and editing Locate Points, see pages 55-6.
Each Locate Points tape position will be shown in either ABS Time or Relative Time, depending on which is selected. The tape positions themselves, however, do not move when switching between these modes. To store locate points on the fly: Press [PLAY], [FAST FWD] or [REWIND] to set the tape transport in motion. Press or hold [SET LOCATE]. The L O C A T E icon will appear in the display immediately followed by a flashing dash ( ). x While holding [SET LOCATE] (or within two seconds after releasing [SET LOCATE]), press one of the [LOCATE 1] through [LOCATE 9] buttons. The current tape position is transferred into the selected Locate Point. To edit locate points: Press the [EDIT VALUE]button. The EDIT icon will appear in the display along with one of three icons appearing below it: LOCATE, TAPE OFFSET or TRACK DELAY. Use [LOCATE 0] through [LOCATE 9] buttons to select a Locate Point Memory. The LOCATE icon will appear (if not already present) and a number from 0 to 9 will appear to its right to reflect the button you have pressed. x Hold [EDIT VALUE] and use the [LOCATE 0] [LOCATE 9] buttons as a numeric key-pad (0-9) to enter the tape position you wish to set for the selected Locate Point. Enter the tape position from left to right. Example: To enter 0:05:00.00, you would hold [EDIT VALUE] and type [LOCATE 5], [LOCATE 0], [LOCATE 0], [LOCATE 0], [LOCATE 0]. Use the [v] and [w] buttons to fine adjust the Locate Point address as desired. To recall a locate point: Press one of the [LOCATE 1] through [LOCATE 9] buttons. Either fast forward or rewind will engage, as indicated by either buttons LED. When the locate function is complete, the transport will stop, and the [STOP] LED will light. If you wish the transport to automatically go into play after the locate function is complete, turn on Auto Play (see next section).
To set the Relative 0:00:00.00 position (Locate 0): Press [PLAY], [FAST FWD] or [REWIND] as required to move the tape to the position you wish to regard as 0:00:00.00 (Relative Time). Remember, ABS Time is the timecode being read from tape. Setting the Locate 0 position is always done in Relative Time. Press [SET LOCATE], immediately followed by pressing [LOCATE 0]. The current tape position is stored into Locate 0, and the TIME counter will display :
0H 00 M 00 S 00
CREATING A LOOP
The Auto Return function causes the XT20 to automatically rewind back to a specified tape position (Locate 1) when playback or recording has reached a specified position (Locate 4). Both Locates 1 and 4 are assignable to any tape position using the methods described in the previous section. The Auto Play function is used to automatically engage playback whenever a locate function is completed. By using both the Auto Return and Auto Play functions, a loop can be created whereby the same region of tape is repeatedly played back. For more information on related functions, see the section entitled Autolocation Controls in Chapter 4. To loop a section of tape: Store the tape position where you want the loop to begin into [LOCATE 1]. Refer to the previous section for instructions. Store the tape position where you want the loop to end into [LOCATE 4]. x Press [AUTO RETURN] to enable Auto Return. In the right side of the display, the AUTO-RETURN icon will appear indicating that Auto Return is enabled. The XT20 will now automatically rewind back to the tape position stored in Locate 1 upon reaching the tape position stored in Locate 4. Press [AUTO PLAY] to enable Auto Play. In the right side of the display, the AUTO-PLAY icon will appear indicating that Auto Play is enabled. The XT20 will now automatically engage playback upon completing a locate. If necessary, press [REWIND] to rewind the tape to a location that is before Locate 4s position. Alternatively, you can press [LOCATE 1] to locate directly to its stored tape position. Press [PLAY] to engage playback. The [PLAY] LED will light and the transport will go into Play mode. When Locate 4s position is reached, the tape will automatically rewind back to Locate 1s position and then automatically go back into Play mode.
ADAT XT20 Reference Manual 25
If the current Locate 1 position is set beyond the current Locate 4 position and Auto Return is turned on, the AUTO-RTN icon in the display will flash to indicate that Locate 1 or 4 will have to be set properly before this function will operate.
A UTOMATED R ECORDING
So far, all of your recording has been done manually you pressed the transport buttons when you wanted to start and stop recording. Auto recording stops and starts recording automatically at predetermined times. This is useful when you want to precisely punch in to a specific place on one or more tracks. In this section, we will be storing the punch points (called Punch In and Punch Out) on the fly while playback is engaged. You can, however, manually modify the precise Punch In and Out points. Auto Return and Auto Play (described in the previous section) help make Auto Recording more functional. For more information, see page 58. To automatically punch in and out: Store the tape position where you want to begin recording into [LOCATE 2]. Refer to page 67 for instructions. Store the tape position where you want to end recording into [LOCATE 3]. x Press [AUTO RECORD] to enable Auto Record. In the right side of the display, the AUTO-REC icon will appear indicating that Auto Record is enabled. Note: If Locate 2s position is past Locate 3s position, the TIME counter will temporarily read invALid. Press [REWIND] to rewind the tape before Locate 2s position. Record enable the track(s) you wish to record on. The selected tracks [REC] LEDs flashes. Simultaneously press [PLAY] and [RECORD]. The [PLAY] LED lights, the [RECORD] LED flashes and the transport will engage Play mode. When Locate 2s position is reached, the XT20 will automatically punch-in ([PLAY], [RECORD] and track [REC] LED(s) stop flashing and remain lit). Recording will continue until Locate 3s position is reached, at which point the XT20 will automatically punch-out, returning to play mode ([PLAY] LED lit, [RECORD] LED off, track [REC] LEDs flashing). Press [STOP] to stop the transport.
If none of the tracks are in record-ready (all eight [REC] LEDs off) when the punch-in point is reached, the [RECORD] LED will continue flashing instead of lighting solid.
If a record is initiated past Locate 2s position, but before Locate 3s position, then record is entered immediately. If the record is initiated after Locate 3s position, then the record command is ignored and the transport is left in play mode.
By pressing the [REHEARSE] button (the REHEARSE icon will light in the display), you can run through the Auto-Record process without actually recording anything. However, the input monitors on the tracks
Transmit at 20 bit, and the receiving unit will ignore the last four bits, essentially cutting them off. Press the [DIGITAL OUT] button (located on the right above the RECORD button) until the display reads:
This cuts off the data in bits 17-20 and fills the extra 4 bits with zeroes at the transmitting end. In most cases, this has the same sonic results as Method #1.
Press the [DIGITAL OUT] button (located on the right above the RECORD button) until the display reads:
This adds dither, a specially shaped mathmatical noise, to the conversion process which smoothes out the transition at low levels and allows you to get better resolution even though the result is still 16-bit. However, if the signal will be dithered again later, you may want to use one of the first two methods.
To connect the digital optical network: Locate the [DIGITAL IN] and [DIGITAL OUT] connectors. Remove the connectors plugs (if present) and store for later use. Connect one end of the fiber optic cable into the [DIGITAL OUT] jack of the first machine in the system. Remove the clear, plastic tube covering each end of the cable (if present). The cable is non-polarized, so either end can be inserted into the optical output. x Connect the other end of the fiber optic cable to the [DIGITAL IN] of the second machine in the system. Tip: if the machines are on, the cable from the source machine will show a red light at the end. For each additional machine, connect one end of an additional fiber optic cable to the second machines [DIGITAL OUT] jack, and the other end to the third machines [DIGITAL IN] jack. Its [DIGITAL OUT] jack then connects to the fourth machines [DIGITAL IN] jack, and so on. Finally, connect one end of a fiber optic cable to the last machines [DIGITAL OUT] jack, and the other end to the first machines [DIGITAL IN] jack. This last step creates a loop, and thus makes the digital bus accessible to all machines that are connected to it.
When connecting more than two machines, always connect the optical cables in the same order as the sync cables (1 to 2, 2 to 3, etc.), so that the digital routing will work correctly.
When in a typical play situation, the display may look like this:
The meters show the current level of each playback track. Tracks 4 and 6 are both in record (as indicated by the REC LEDs) and monitoring their inputs (as indicated by the INPUT LEDs). The TIME counter (directly above the meters) shows the current tape position, in this case relative to the user-defined 0:00:00.00 point (RELative Time). The display example above indicates that the CLOCK is currently set to INTernal and 48KHz, the AUTO INPUT MONitor is on, and the Analog input is selected. The icon indicates that a tape is detected, and the LOCKED icon tells us that playback is engaged.
The following icons appear in the display at different times. They indicate that the parameter for which they are named has been selected or turned on. These icons are:
This icon lights whenever the meter resolution is in its fine calibration mode, showing the range from -18 dBFS to -12.5 dBFS instead of the normal 0 to -48 range. (Access this mode by pressing PEAK MODE and PEAK CLEAR simultaneously.)
This icon lights whenever Absolute Time mode is selected (by pressing the [ABS/REL] button).
This icon lights whenever Relative Time mode is selected (by pressing the [ABS/REL] button).
The PITCH group of icons relates information regarding pitch change. Whenever the Pitch setting is above 0, the upper triangle will appear. Whenever the Pitch setting is below 0, the lower triangle will appear. When either PITCH buttons ([v] or [w]) are pressed, the PITCH icon will appear indicating that the TIME counter is now displaying the current Pitch setting using two values: Percentage (%) and Cents (C). See page 62. Indicates whether Format mode is turned on or off. The FORMAT icon will flash whenever an unformatted tape is inserted. If the [FORMAT] button is pressed, the FORMAT icon will light. If the [FORMAT] button is pressed again, the FORMAT icon will turn off. See page 35. This icon will light when performing a format extend. See page 37. This icon will light whenever a tape is inserted which has its write-protect tab removed, indicating it cannot be recorded on. This, however, can be overridden using the Protect Override function. See page 39. This icon will light whenever a tape is inserted. If connected to a multiple ADAT system, the ID icon lights when the XT20 is turned on. The number appearing to the right of the ID icon will indicate the ID number of the unit (116). You can check the units ID without turning the unit on and off by holding [SET LOCATE] and pressing [PLAY]. See chapter 5.
This icon will light whenever edit mode is selected (by pressing the [EDIT VALUE] button). See page 46. Indicates that the transport is shuttling to a Locate Point (09). When in Edit mode, this icon indicates that you are editing a Locate Points address, which will appear in the TIME counter. A number (from 0 to 9) will appear next to the EDIT icon to indicate which Locate Point is being edited. See page 46.
R ECORD CROSSFADE T IME
Crossfading is the process of fading out the original audio on tape while fading in the new audio when punching in (or vice-versa when punching out). Whenever recording begins or ends, the XT20 provides a smooth transition between the audio on tape and the audio being recorded. This prevents gaps and/or noises when punching in and out of record. The Record Crossfade Time setting determines how long it takes for the audio to completely transition from the previous audio to the current audio when recording. The default is 11 milliseconds but can be increased to 43 ms. The faster crossfade time allows you to punch in and out quicker, and is best used when the audio on tape is similar to the audio you are recording. The longer crossfade time allows for a smoother transition and is more useful when punching in new material that is very different from what is already on tape, or when punching in low-frequency signals. Crossfading always begins at the punch point and continues for the amount of time you have specified. To set the Crossfade Time: Press and hold the [SET LOCATE] button. While holding the [SET LOCATE] button, press the [RECORD] button. This will advance Crossfade setting to its next value, in this case it is 21 ms. The TIME counter will briefly read: While still holding [SET LOCATE], each time you press [RECORD] will advance the Crossfade setting to the next value. Select either 11 ms, 21 ms, 32 ms and 43 ms. These time values assume a playback rate of 48kHz, and are therefore not exact if the Pitch amount is changed, or an external clock source is used. If the Clock is set to 44.1 kHz, the available crossfade times are actually 12 ms, 23 ms, 35 ms and 46 ms (although they will not be labeled this way). To select the sample rate (48 kHz or 44.1 kHz), see previous section.
D ISPLAYING FRAMES
If you are using the XT20 with the BRC, you will notice that the BRCs TIME display uses the hours:minutes:seconds:frames format, while the XT20
normally uses the hours:minutes:seconds:100ths/second format. This may cause some confusion when locating to a specific position on the BRC, since the XT20 will show a slightly different value when looking at the last two digits of the TIME counter. The XT20 will locate to the same physical position that the BRC displays, it is simply displaying 100ths/second instead of frames. It is possible, however, to switch the XT20s TIME display so that it counts in a 30 FPS format, instead of 100ths/second. This is done by holding [SET LOCATE] and pressing RECORD ENABLE . Repeat this process to toggle back and forth between these two modes. When set to frames-per-second mode, the TIME counter will briefly read d1SP FPS. When switched back to 100ths-of-a-second mode, the TIME counter will briefly read d1SP rE. This feature is designed for the sole purpose of aligning the displays of the XT20 and the BRC. The selected mode also affects how the Locate Points are displayed and edited on the XT20.
Once you have stored one or more tape positions into the Locate Point memories, pressing any of the [LOCATE 0] [LOCATE 9] buttons while Edit mode is not selected will initiate a locate to its respective address. The TIME counter will momentarily display the selected Locate Points address and the Locate Points number (09) will appear in the upper-right corner of the display; the transport will either fast forward or rewind to the selected Locate Points address.
A UTO LOOPING
Auto Looping is not a feature in and of itself, but is made up of two important features that, when used together, provide a very useful tool. These two features are: Auto Return and Auto Play. When both are enabled, and set correctly, a section of tape of any length may be continuously repeated.
A UTO R ETURN
When Auto Return is enabled, and the transport reaches the Locate 4 point (the end of the loop), it will automatically rewind to the Locate 1 point (the start of the loop). Notice the arrow on the front panel connecting the [LOCATE 1] and [LOCATE 4] buttons. To turn Auto Return on or off, press the [AUTO RETURN] button. The AUTO-RTN icon will light when turned on. If Locate 1s position is after Locate 4, the AUTO-RTN icon will flash, and the transport wont rewind as it passes through Locate 4. For Auto Return to work, Locate 1 must be before Locate 4.
A UTO P LAY
The Auto Play function determines whether or not the transport will automatically go into play when a locate function is completed. This function can also be used in conjunction with the Auto Return function (see above) to create a loop, whereby a section of tape is played over and over. To turn Auto Play on or off, press the [AUTO PLAY] button. The AUTO PLAY icon will light when turned on.
There is, however, a built-in safeguard that protects the tape and the XT20s heads and transport from unnecessary wear and tear by automatically disabling the Auto Loop feature after completing 100 consecutive loops. If this is not to your liking, this safeguard may be disabled. This is done by holding the [SET LOCATE] button and pressing [AUTO RETURN]. However, Alesis recommends doing so only when you absolutely have no other alternative. The 100 loop limit will be enabled again once [STOP] is pressed. While the Auto Loop feature is engaged, you may have a loop count displayed temporarily by holding the [SET LOCATE] button and pressing [AUTO PLAY].
If the XT20 is connected to a BRC, and the tape length is set from the BRC, the individual XT20 slaves will retain their tape length setting after power down.
F OOTSWITCH CONTROLS
The XT20 provides two footswitch jacks: [LOCATE/PLAY/LRC REMOTE] and [PUNCH IN/OUT]. Both accept any momentary, single pole/single throw, 1/4inch mono (T/S) footswitch. During power-up, the XT20 checks the footswitch to determine whether it is normally open or normally closed type, and calibrates itself accordingly. If you use a footswitch and its operation seems reversed, make sure it is firmly plugged into the jack, then turn off the XT20, wait a few seconds, and turn the XT20 on again. It will calibrate itself to work with the footswitch. Either the [PUNCH IN/OUT] or [LOCATE/PLAY/LRC REMOTE] jack can also be used for connecting an LRC Remote Control. The PUNCH footswitch and the LRC cannot be used at the same time, since they occupy the same jack, unless you connect them with a Y-cord. However, you can interchange them if you observe certain precautions (see next section).
F OOTSWITCH CONTROLLED PUNCHING
The [PUNCH IN/OUT] footswitch is used to enable and disable recording. If a track (or tracks) is record-enabled, and the tape is playing, pressing the punch footswitch puts the track(s) into record mode at the instant you punch. This is equivalent to pressing [PLAY] and [RECORD] to enter record mode. If the XT20 is already in record mode, pressing the footswitch punches out of record (the track(s) will remain record-enabled should you need to punch in again later on) and the tape will continue to play. This is equivalent to pressing [PLAY].
F OOTSWITCH CONTROLLED AUTOLOCATING
The [LOCATE/PLAY] footswitch has three functions: If the transport is currently stopped, pressing the Locate/Play footswitch is the equivalent to pressing the [PLAY] button. If the transport is currently playing or recording, pressing the Locate/Play footswitch causes the transport to punch out of record, fast wind to the Locate 1 point (this may be entered by pressing [SET LOCATE] followed by the [LOCATE 1] button) then either Stop or Play, depending on the setting of the Auto-Play function. If the XT20 is in the process of locating, pressing the Locate/Play footswitch will stop the transport.
XT20 LRC REMOTE
The XT20 hand-held LRC remote provides the following functions: Transport functions: Rewind, Fast Forward, Stop, Play and Record.
Autolocation functions: Locate 1, Locate 2, Locate 3, Locate 4, Set Locate and Auto Loop Track functions: Auto Record and Rehearse.
All buttons function as if pressed from the XT20s front panel. The [AUTO LOOP] button, which does not exist on the XT20 front panel, toggles both Auto Play and Auto Return functions on and off simultaneously with one button press. Note: If you wish to enable the Auto Play function without the Auto Return function being enabled (i.e. without looping), you can initiate a deferred play with the Play button that is, press any of the [LOCATE 1] [LOCATE 4] buttons followed by the [PLAY] button. To use the XT20 Remote, plug it into the [LOCATE/PLAY/LRC] jack or the [PUNCH IN/OUT] jack, depending on which one is not being used. If connected to the master XT20 in a multiple ADAT system, the XT20 Remote can control the entire chain of ADATs.
Chapter 5: Multiple ADAT-XT20 Operation
M ULTIPLE ADATXT20 OPERATION
By itself, a single ADAT-XT20 provides a lot of flexibility. However, a multiple ADAT system greatly expands your recording and editing possibilities. Keep in mind that since the XT20 is an ADAT-compatible machine, you can intermingle any number of XT20s and other types of ADAT togetherup to 16 machines total for 128 tracks (see the section entitled Combining XT20s and ADATs on page 73). When linking multiple XT20s and/or ADATs together, the first ADAT in the chain is referred to as the master, and the rest are called slaves. Each slave is locked to the master, and relies on the time reference from the master machine to keep the system synchronized. Connections are easy to make; one 9-pin D connector cable for each slave. A slave will automatically detect a master and go into slave mode.
Using the 8-channel proprietary ADAT Optical digital bus, you can also bounce tracks between machines in the digital realm. Not only does this result in a perfect copy, but one that is perfectly synchronized with the original. This means you can make perfect safety backups and archives of recordings. One creative way of using a multiple ADAT system (though it can be done with just one XT20) is to dedicate two tracks of one machine for stereo mix-down. Since these mix tracks are always in sync with the rest of the system, you can execute a seamless punch at any time. For example, you could mix-down different sections of a recording independent from one another, making changes in the mix as you go along.
Multiple ADAT-XT20 Operation: Chapter 5
Each slave XT20 can have its own tape offset, with respect to the master machine. Combine this feature with the ability to bounce tracks in the digital domain, and you have the ability to perform cut-and-paste style assembly editing.
SYNCHRONIZING M ACHINES
Synchronization requires a dual male, 9-pin D connector cable for each slave to be synchronized. Use only Alesis cables. Alesis Sync Cables are available in three different lengths: 8", 30", and 30' from your dealer. Other types of cables may cause incorrect commands to be received, and erratic sync performance. This connection should be made while power is off, and the machines should be powered on from first to last with the BRC (if present) powered on after all of the ADATs. For more about connections, refer to the section entitled Sync In/Out in Chapter 3. After youve connected multiple XT20s and/or ADATS together and turned them on, the masters display will show ID 1 (identifying itself as the number 1 machine in the system). The second machine will display ID 2, the third ID 3, and so on. The ID order is automatically assigned according to how the cables are hooked up. You can re-check a machines ID at any time by holding [SET LOCATE] and pressing [PLAY].
If a slave does not display an ID number on power-up, then it does not see anything connected to the [SYNC IN] jack. Check the cables and connections. If needed, the machines will renumber their IDs if more XT20s or ADATs are connected later. Example: Suppose you have three XT20s hooked up so that machine 1 is the master, and machines 2 and 3 are slaves. If you turn on only machines 2 and 3, machine 1 will not be active so machine 2 decides its the master (ID 1) and machine three the only slave (ID 2). If you then turn on machine 1, the machines will renumber themselves so that machine 1 becomes the master (ID 1), and machines 2 and 3 become the slaves (ID 2 and 3, respectively). Note that in this example, if machines 1 and 3 are turned on but machine 2 is turned off, machine 3 will not slave to machine 1 because machine 2 is turned off, so the sync signal cannot pass through it from 1 to 3. All slave XT20s will automatically be placed in External Clock mode (the EXT icon will be lit in the CLOCK icon group). The [CLOCK SELECT] button will not function on the slave XT20s since External Clock is their only option. Simultaneously, each slaves CHASE icon will light whenever it is chasing the location of the master.
M ASTER/SLAVE INTERACTION
Pressing any of the transport buttons ([PLAY], [STOP], etc.), or [AUTO REC], [LOCATE 0] [LOCATE 9], [ALL INPUT], [AUTO INPUT], PITCH [v] or [w] will automatically trigger the same functions on the slave machine(s) as well. Alesis recommends that you always initiate operations from the master, including all transport control functions, to minimize confusion. When you press [PLAY] on the master, the slave(s) will locate to the same timecode point and begin playing once sync is
Chapter 5: Multiple ADAT-XT20 Operation achieved (indicated by the LOCKED icon being lit). Pressing [EJECT] on the master ejects all slaves tapes as well. To eject only the masters tape, hold [SET LOCATE] and press [EJECT] on the master. When recording or punching in on the slaves, initiate recording on the master but do not have any master tracks record-enabled (unless, of course, you need to record tracks on the master). Any tracks that are record-enabled on the slaves will go into record, while the master will simply play. This is why record enable is an independent function for each slave. There are two other functions when the slave(s) act independently. Formatting is initiated independently on each slave for a number of reasons, as detailed in the next section; however, simultaneous formatting on all slaves is possible. Digital Input can also be set independently for the slave(s) since you may want to record via the analog inputs on some machines and via the digital inputs on others.
The XT20 is superb for archiving purposes, such as speeches and broadcasts, stereo mixes or libraries of stereo samples. The XT20 can record over eight hours of mono material by recording approx. 60 minutes on each track (using ST-180 tape). Over four hours of stereo mixes or samples can be recorded by mixing down to four sets of stereo pairs (1/2, 3/4, 5/6, and 7/8).
M ODULAR R ECORDING
Collaborations work particularly well with a system or two or more XT20s (and/or ADATs). You can record your tracks onto the master machine, then do a premix onto two tracks of a slave machine, which is of course perfectly synchronized to the master. Send this tape to your partner, who adds parts on
the other tracks. When the tape comes back, just pop it into one of your machines, and your partners parts will be in sync with the original tracks you laid down. You may wish to include documentation with your tape which indicates the Track Delays values, Tape Offset amount and/or Locate Point positions, so your partner can recreate the same parameter settings you were using. Or, if youre both using BRC remotes, save your setup to the data section of tape (this is called saving the Table of Contents, or TOC). This way, you partner can pick up right where you left off.
USING T RACK C OPY
In a multiple ADAT system which combines one or more XT20s and one or more original ADATs, you can use the XT20s Track Copy function as a way to reroute its digital output to different tracks on the ADATs. Lets say you have one XT20 which is the master, and one ADAT which is the slave. When you normally record the digital output of the XT20 to the ADAT, the tracks are transferred on a one-to-one basis. In other words, track 1 of the XT20 is recorded onto track 1 (9) of the ADAT, track 2 goes to track 2 (10), and so on. By using the Track Copy function on the XT20, any track on the XT20 can be sent on a different channel. For example, you could have track 1 transmitted as channel 8, which means you can record it onto track 8 (16) of the ADAT. In the following steps , we will illustrate how to accomplish the above example: On the XT20, press and hold [TRACK COPY]. Press RECORD ENABLE  to select track #1 as the source track. x Release the [TRACK COPY] button. Press RECORD ENABLE  to record enable track #8 on the XT20. Press [DIGITAL IN] on the ADAT and press RECORD ENABLE  to record enable track #8 (16) on the ADAT. Press [PLAY] on the XT20. Press [PLAY] and [RECORD] on the slave ADAT.
A UTOMATIC B RAKE CALIBRATION P ROCEDURE
If the "CAL brAc" error message appears, the internal braking system of the XT20 may need to be adjusted. The intelligent transport software is capable of calibrating the XT20s brakes automatically in a self-test procedure. This procedure may be performed as a regular maintenance procedure every 250 hours of head drum operation (to see the hours on your unit, hold SET LOCATE and press FAST FORWARD). 1. Obtain a standard ST-126 length tape (preferably a Quantegy 489 such as the one shipped with your unit) that has already been completely formatted from beginning to end. Use a non-essential tape (i.e., don't insert your only copy of a master tape). Do not use other lengths of tape such as ST-180 or ST-60. 2. Turn off the POWER switch. Hold REWIND and FAST FORWARD while turning the power back on again. The display will read "CALIbrAt". 3. Insert the tape into the transport. 4. At this time the unit will adjust the brake tension automatically. The transport will shuttle back and forth for about 5 minutes. During the operation, the tape will half-eject twice. This is normal. 5. The display should briefly read "PaSS" before ejecting the tape fully and returning to the "ADAT-XT" start-up screen. The brakes have now been recalibrated. If the "CAL brAc" message appears again shortly after a brake calibration has been performed, there may be something wrong with the tape being used. Check operation with another tape. If the message persists, the unit must be professionally serviced. Note: If these errors occur only with a certain tape, or display once in a while, its probably not cause for concern. Errors 1 through 3 and 9 can indicate conditions that may damage a tape; the other errors wont damage the tape or the machine. Backup the data from that tape to another machine, if possible, and continue working from the backup copy.
STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE CALLING FOR H ELP
If an error message is displayed or if an ADAT starts behaving strangely, then please follow the suggested steps below: 1 Stop the tape playing (or recording). Does the error go away? 2 Rewind the tape a minute or two. Press [PLAY]. Does the error recur? 3 Eject the tape. Place it back in the XT20 and press [PLAY]. Does the error recur? 4 Turn down the volume of any mixer or amplifier you have connected to the outputs of the XT20. Turn the power of the XT20 off, wait a minute and then re-power the XT20. Repeat steps 1 to 3. Does the error come back? 5 If it does, then try a different tape. Repeat steps 1 to 3. Does the problem recur?
UNBALANCED AUDIO SIGNALS
Signals that are carried on two-conductor cables, one hot and one ground. Unbalanced connections save costs, but are more prone to picking up hum and interference with lowlevel signals.
Acronym for Video Home System, a video recording system introduced for consumer use and using standardized cartridges.
Vertical Interval Time Code (VITC) is timecode information encoded in the vertical retrace interval of the video signal (this is the time when the beam is getting back to the top of the screen). The advantage of VITC is that the timecode value can be read when the video deck is paused, and is accurate to the frame.
16-bit, 29, 40, 71 formatting, 35 20-bit, 29, 40 formatting, 35 ABS/REL button, 16, 41 Absolute Time, 41, 56 ADAT, 51, 64, 75 AES/EBU, 72 AI-1, 72 AI-2, 80 ALL INPUT button, 45 analog recording, 84 AUTO INPUT button, 45 Auto Play, 20, 58 Auto record, 21, 59 Auto Return, 20, 58 autolocation, 56 backup, 70 bandwidth, 85 BRC, 60, 65 CHASE, 65, 100 clock, 39, 51, 52, 72, 74 Copying tapes, 70 Crossfade Time, 52 data, 33 DB 9, 28 digital clock, 54, 72 Digital Input, 39, 43, 65 DIGITAL INPUT button, 68 digital recording, 48, 84 display, 37 brightness, 23 Display Icons, 38 dither, 29 Drum Time, 90 EDIT VALUE, 38, 42 eject, 65 EJECT button, 49 ELCO, 26 error codes, 93 error rate, 88 FAST FWD button, 49 FINE dB, 38 footswitches LOCATE/PLAY, 31 LOCATE/PLAY/LRC REMOTE, 61 PUNCH IN/OUT, 31, 61 Formatting, 14, 32 frequency response, 84 head cleaning, 89 ID, 38, 65
input, 10 balanced, 26 Digital, 29 unbalanced, 25 input select, 43 LEAd, 33 Locate, 19, 38 LOCATE 0 button, 56 lock, 59, 66 loop, 20 LRC remote, 31, 61 meters, 16, 46 MIDI, 80 mixdown deck, 78 multiple ADAT system, 64 multiple machine, 78 multiple machine system Formatting, 65 master, 64 slave, 64 No good tc, 94 optical, 29, 64 Out 16dt, 71 output digital, 29 unbalanced, 25 PEAK CLEAR button, 46 PEAK MODE button, 46 phase, 75 Pitch, 22, 52, 54 play, 18 PLAY button, 50 Power, 7 power, 13 punch out, 50, 51 punching, 50 record live, 79 RECORD button, 50 Record Crossfade Time, 52 RECORD ENABLE buttons, 16, 48 recording while formatting, 34 Recording, 17 re-formatting, 32 rehearse, 59 Re-initializing, 87 Relative Time, 41, 56 REWIND button, 49 S/PDIF, 72 sample rate, 14, 51 sample-accurate, 68 samples, 84 SET LOCATE, 19, 38
for crossfade time, 52 for infinite loop, 58 for Relative Time, 41 for tape length setting, 60 to eject master only, 65 to max Pitch amount, 54 to set a negative offset, 73 SET LOCATE button, 56, 57 signal level, 48 Software Version, 88 STOP button, 51 S-VHS, 11, 60, 79, 85 SYNC, 28 Sync Cables, 65 tape length, 60 Threaded, 11, 51 TIME COUNTER, 13, 16 Track Copy, 44, 82 Track Delay, 55 transport, 16, 49 transport speed, 74 unthreaded, 11, 51 up and down buttons, 42 video, 80 write protect, 32
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